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Inspired by failure - Jamieson creates revolutionary education programme to aid disadvantaged students

Published:Tuesday | January 15, 2019 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Patrina Jamieson
Patrina Jamieson

Patrina Jamieson decided to use the challenges she faced as a student at Tarrant High School in St Andrew, in addition to a failing grade she got in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) mathematics exam, to create the eLibrary initiative, which will be issued to all high schools in Jamaica.

According to Jamieson, director of the eLibrary project at the La Sierra University Enactus in California, United States (US), the education solution is a digital material that creates electronic textbooks and innovative resources to help students' proficiency in areas of mathematics, science, reading and business. The eLibrary uses new micro-compression technology to bring thousands of curated, curriculum-based content to communities around the world that lack reliable infrastructure and Internet access.

The 29-year-old, who is currently completing her PhD studies at La Sierra, migrated to the US at the age of 22.

She shared that the desire to ensure that all students had an equal opportunity to achieve a solid education was always heavy on her heart.

"I went to Tarrant High School and a lot of students were from a low socio-economic background. When I think of the fact that people don't have access to resources because of their socio-economic status, among other things, I realise that there was not much equity," she told The Gleaner at the launch of the eLibrary project in Jamaica, which was held at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston yesterday.

Jamieson noted, "I remember being in high school, where we were short on textbooks, for example, or we had books that were outdated. We want our students to be able to compete globally or be able to have information that somebody has in the US or the UK (United Kingdom)."




She gave credit to her team, who she said worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the programme. She emphasised, too, that failure should not be an excuse.

"I got a grade five in math. I was a very good math student, so that wasn't the issue, but I didn't know my formulae. Math is something that you practise, and maybe if I had a device or two like this, I would be able to practise. I am a very visual student, so I was at a big disadvantage when I was in school. However, I figured out what I did wrong, I made the corrections and I passed," she said.

Education Minister Ruel Reid, who was in attendance at the launch, said he was most impressed with the fact that the materials do not require Internet connectivity. He admitted that many schools are at a disadvantage, as access to Internet is very limited.

The minister noted that the initiative will create equal opportunities for all students.